Sunday, November 28, 2021

Tupelo's Most-Famous Elvis Impersonator Visits the Lyric Next Week

Poster designed by Courtney McPhail
Poster designed by Courtney McPhail

The chance to see Tupelo’s most-famous Elvis impersonator and perhaps sneak into documentary footage is about one week away.
The documentary “I Didn’t Do It” will be filming footage at a May 15 concert by Paul Kevin Curtis, who was framed by a rival Elvis impersonator/karate instructor in an assassination attempt on the president.
Curtis was eventually cleared last year of sending ricin-laced letters to President Barack Obama, U.S. Sen. Roger Wicker and a federal judge.
In January, Everett Dutschke pleaded guilty to sending the letters. Dutschke will be sentenced in Oxford on May 14.
Ironically, just one day later, Curtis will perform his first concert as Elvis since he was taken into federal custody and released.
F.B.I.O.U, a Ricin Roll Concert, will begin at 8 p.m. May 15, at The Lyric Oxford.
Hudson Hickman, one of the documentary producers, said the concert date wasn’t planned around the sentencing, it’s just a coincidence.
A still shot of Kevin Curtis performing as Elvis, from "I Didn't Do It."
A still shot of Kevin Curtis performing as Elvis, from “I Didn’t Do It.”

Director/producer Melanie Addington said Curtis will split his show into two acts, with several costume changes and impersonations (definitely Elvis and Marty Robbins, and maybe others) in the first act. He will perform original music during the second half of the show.
“Everyone’s going to see a little bit of everything about Kevin,” she said.
His other impersonations include Johnny Cash, Randy Travis, Kenny Chesney, Roy Orbison, and even Prince and Elton John, Hickman said.
“I’ve seen him sing songs and he sounds remarkably like whoever he’s impersonating,” Hickman said.
Most of filming has wrapped up, but Addington is still trying to film Dutschke’s side of the story. She has exchanged letters with Dutschke, asking to interview him on-camera.
“It sounds like he wants to be involved, but he hasn’t committed,” she said.
Dutschke is a former candidate for the Mississippi House of Representatives and also owned a Taekwondo martial arts studio in Tupelo.
He was arrested in the federal investigation into the mailing of the ricin-laced letters to federal and local officials after charges were dropped against Paul Kevin Curtis.
Both Hickman and Addington have local ties and started the feature-length documentary project because the case captivated them. Curtis was visiting family in New Albany and Addington was working as a reporter at the Oxford Eagle during the case. Over lunch, they decided they wanted to make this movie, and 48 hours later they had the rights, Hickman said.
A still from "I Didn't Do It."
A still from “I Didn’t Do It.”

“There are people out there who still don’t understand he wasn’t involved,” Addington said. “It’s caused a lot of mental stress.”
The film follows Curtis through his journey of becoming a terrorism suspect, garnering unwanted national attention and trying to return to a normal life.
“The last year he hasn’t performed at all and that was the other reason we wanted to put this together was to help him get back into it,” Hickman said. “It’s been a bit of a trauma for him, being arrested like this for no reason.”
Full distribution is planned for the documentary, but Addington said a screening is planned for Oxford. The movie will be released by the end of the year, she said.
The documentary team has been awarded a J.E. Pitts Artist Fund grant, in the amount of $500, according to director/producer Melanie Addington. The fund is named in memory of Jimmy Pitts, a songwriter, artist and poet from Oxford.
The trailer is here and the documentary website is here.
Gretchen Stone is HottyToddy.com associate editor. Gretchen can be contacted about this story at Gretchen.Stone@HottyToddy.com

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